Age proves no hurdle to horse and trainer after special win at Fakenham
PUBLISHED: 16:05 21 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:01 21 November 2017
Emotions were running high after 13-year-old Occasionally Yours won the opening hurdle race at Fakenham.
The country’s oldest trainer, 89-year-old Alan Blackmore of Hertford, along with wife Pat, were overjoyed after Jack Quinlan had squeezed a 10th career victory out of the gelding.
Normally ridden by Tabitha Worsley, seriously injured in a fall at the weekend, it was a magical victory for the Blackmores, the 9/4 winner following up a recent Huntingdon success.
“This is very special for us. We do everything ourselves with Basil, as we call him at home,” said Mrs Blackmore.
“Basil simply doesn’t accept he is 13. My thoughts go out to Tabitha who usually rides him. I rode him when I was an amateur so it’s lovely to be back on board,” said Quinlan.
Champion jockey Richard Johnson grabbed his 102nd win of the season when 7/4 chance Kayfleur won the three-mile chase. Kayfleur, trained by Henry Daly, was helped when favourite Maid Of Milan crashed out at the open ditch.
Johnson went on to complete a double for himself and trainer Olly Murphy when he scored on 7/4 favourite Saucysioux who responded well to first-time blinkers to run away with the mares’ hurdle, beating pacemaker Broadway Belle.
The three-runner feature was won by Holbrook Park under Trevor Whelan for trainer Neil King. The winner set the pace and looked like being caught by favourite Red Hanrahan. But Holbrook Park battled on and won by three lengths.
“It was a hard work, he’s got really tired. He’d been off the course for a long time. But he’s jumped great,” said Whelan.
Amateur rider Lewis Stones produced a storming late dash from Mullaghboy to land the East Rudham hurdle for trainer Murphy. The 6/1 winner finished with a rattle to beat Chilli Romance and Bardd.
There were only 25 runners on the day, something Fakenham chief executive David Hunter found ‘really disappointing’.
“I’ve looked into this and genuinely cannot put my finger on the reason. But it’s an issue at lots of courses, not just here. It’s disappointing, especially after the last meeting that saw a good turnout,” he said.